Royal Blood – John Peel Stage Live at Glastonbury

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There was devastation of biblical proportions at the Glastonbury Festival yesterday. It was carnage.
No, not the walkways and campsites of the festival goers, or even the revolting shirt worn by one of my friends all day yesterday. No, I refer to the memorable finale to Royal Blood’s set, a band who raised the roof of the John Peel Stage.
I say “band”.
“Let me introduce you to the rest of the band” proclaims singer and vocalist Mike Kerr, “Ben Thatcher on the drums!”
Yes, from the same stage that other two piece British band, Drenge, conjured mosh pit frenzy it was going to be interesting to see how Royal Blood, who have yet to release more than three singles, would fare with their drum and bass twin fire.
Short summary? They did just fine.
And that finale? As the set closed, Thatcher kicked away his drum stool and – without missing a beat – continued to drum standing up dealing the sort of blows not seen since Ali in his heyday, or perhaps wrestling’s Big Daddy.
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After last week’s announcement that their self-titled debut album will be released on 25th August, Royal Blood took to the John Peel stage to showcase the new songs, as well as some familiar favourites from their first few singles, including the superb “Little Monster”.

I was looking forward to seeing the band, having written briefly about them earlier this year after “Little Monster” caught my eye. I say “caught my eye”: it was more of a bludgeoning between the ears, and a stark realisation that such an amazing sound could come from a drummer (Ben Thatcher – no relation to the former Manchester City defender we assume) and a bass guitarist (Mike Kerr) with a decent effects pedal rack.

Since then, another song, “Come On Over” has been released, and the duo were at Glastonbury to wipe away a few cobwebs from the packed out and expectant crowd a little bleary eyed and windswept from the previous night’s shenanigans.

The crowd, if anything, was larger for Royal Blood than we saw the previous day at Drenge and whilst the mosh pits took longer to form, they eventually did so. Royal Blood impressed hugely.

Drummer Thatcher resembles a superhero in build, albeit not in choice of outerwear. He’s a mighty clockwork drummer-monkey in style of play. He hits his drums so hard you start to feel sorry for them.

By contrast, Kerr’s vocals have a lightness of touch, a Dan Auerbach soulfulness to contrast against the heavy sound produced by his fuzzy bass and effects rack.

Of the songs, “Come On Over” made a swift appearance to warm up the crowd. “Figure Out” switches gear mid-song, and is a highlight, Thatcher again flailing away behind his kit with the ferocity of Lana Del Ray unleashed on a journalist. “Little Monster” is a crowd favourite too. Everywhere I look are happy faces, slightly stunned by what they have just seen.

Royal Blood’s album will be released in August: it promises to be a belter.



Categories: Live Reviews

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2 replies

  1. my fave new hard rock band…it was you who turned me on to them…it’s amazing how music and song can be rendered so full and complete with just two live players…and they’re great to watch.

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    • The drummer is a phenomenon live. Quite amazing how hard he hits those things. I think the richness of the sound is down to the bass providing good bottom end, which is harder to get with six strings. Interestingly I have since found out the outstanding song I mention in the article is to be their next single. It should do very well…

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